Van der Graaf Generator — Trisector
(Virgin CDV 3046, 2008, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01Van der Graaf Generator has been getting attention from the mainstream press during their recent UK tour, much of it positive and respectful. I have a feeling Trisector will help in that regard. While some songs exude the sort of prog rock intricacies exemplified in “Interference Patterns” with its Gentle Giant-like polyphony, others — like the opening instrumental “The Hurlyburly” — seem born out of a garage band ethos, loaded with a sweaty grit that’s sure to maintain VdGG’s status as progressive rock’s best non-prog group. For fans, hearing Hugh Banton’s organ, Guy Evan’s deft kit work, and Peter Hammill’s trademark vocal is like enjoying a fine, vintage wine. The absence of David Jackson’s sax and flute is definitely felt in places, like the emotive “Lifetime” or the extroverted rocker “All That Before.” One can almost fill in the empty spaces with Jackson’s playing and the album would have been better for it. But Trisector succeeds anyways because the songs — quirky, angular, and eccentric as they can be — have focus. When Hammill sings “Oh, but the clock was always counting / the envelope was sealed / and as the pressure’s mounting / still precious little is revealed” on “Over the Hill” you share his contemplation of a life spent searching for answers but consoled that he’s done his best to make sense of it all. This is progressive rock at its best — a provocative consortium of sound and word that says much more than surface impressions may imply.
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more